How to Make a Picture Book and Sell it On Amazon, Part 1

I am in the process of putting together an actual and on-line course on How to Self-Publish a Picture Book. I have written a basic outline around how to self-publish a picture book on CreateSpace and Kindle and thought lets pull all this together right here in the blog and write the full version. One of the points I teach about marketing your book is to start the marketing at the same time you start the writing. One of the easiest ways to get started is to write your book right into your blog. Let it take shape here, attract some readers, have them sign up for your mailing list and build some followers.

1. The Type of Book You Are Making
One of the first decision you will need to make is what kind of book are you releasing. Is it a text only fiction book, a picture book, a non-fiction how-to-book, a children’s book, a paperback, an e-book, or both the list is pretty big. Depending on what you decide, it will determine where you will publish and the process you will go through to make your book. With all of the options available today you can very often pick several different ways to publish the same material. For my own books I often start with the print version and then move to e-book and then maybe a pdf. Some books start as e-books first others start as print.

2. Deciding on the Publishing Platform
At the top of everyone’s publishing list is Amazon.com. Pretty much the largest distributor of books on the planet. Amazon has two options for self-publishing. You can go with a print-on-demand paperback produced through their CreateSpace.com division or an e-book that is read on the Kindle e-book reader. Some books work great on both platforms and some a little better on one. Kindle works great on books that are pretty much mostly text. But more and more picture books are going that way also.

Lets define some terms:
Print-on-Demand: POD is a technology where the book isn’t printed until an order has been placed. Books are printed one at a time as orders come in.This has become a very efficient way of printing because you don’t need to have any inventory sitting on shelves. Print-on-Demand has also moved way beyond just books, it also includes mugs, t-shirts, posters, almost any kind of specialty item. Websites like CafePress.com and Zazzle.com produce all kind of products. For paperback books one of the largest POD printers is CreateSpace.com which is a division of Amazon.com. We will be using CreateSpace.com for our picture book.  The Print-on-Demand technology has exploded publishing and allowed small publishers and indie authors to print and sell books. Other popular POD printers are Lulu.com and Blurb.com.

E-book: E-books are full length books in digital form. The book can contain text, images or both. They can be read on e-book readers, computers, tablets, and smartphones. The most popular reader is the Kindle by Amazon.com. The Kindle comes as a physical device and as a reading app on pretty much any electronic device. There are two basic e-book formats, Mobi which works on just the Amazon Kindle and Kindle readers and ePub format which works on all the other devices such as Kobo, Nook, iPad and many others.

Most main stream books these day are released both ways, e-book and print and sometimes audio. A lot of indie authors and publishers release just on Kindle because it is pretty easy and inexpensive to do. Print takes a bit more effort but in reality is pretty straight forward. There are many ways to get your books published on Amazon and all the other platforms. You can do it yourself or hire people or services to do it for you. Generally most people recommend setting up your own book accounts on Amazon for both print and e-book and for all of the other platforms using a service like BookBaby.com or Smashword.com. Many of the print-on-demand services also have their own stores and are building relationships with Amazon and others to give you full distribution.

Lets Go Through the Thought Process
You want as big a distribution as you can get, world-wide would be great. Paperback black/white or color book, standard sizes, text or images, you go with CreateSpace.com/Amazon. E-Book, world-wide distribution, mostly text such as a fiction or romance book, Kindle/Amazon.com. Kindle will pretty much do anything. The books will play on any electronic device, and can be bought all over the world. More and more picture, children’s, rnon-fiction, really any kind of book now works this way. Where I have seen issues is when the book has extensive formatting, lots of charts and graphs, then things get a little strange. But Kindle is pretty flexible. One of the great things about CreateSpace is that the per book printing price is very competitive, in fact if you are printing extras for use at a conference or event the prices are excellent.

You want to kick your book up a notch. Give it a hardcover or maybe a cover wrap, you are going horizontal, or spiral binding. How about some really nice photos or maybe you want that thicker paper. Then you want to look at print-on-demand printers like Lulu.com or Blurb.com. Both of these companies do a great job and are now offering direct ties to Amazon.com for selling. Blurb.com can produce some really high quality books.

One of the cool things from Blurb.com is their BookWright software. To produce a designed, printed book you generally need some kind of page layout software like InDesign to build your book. But one of the trends is the development of book design and publishing software like BookWright. You don’t need anything, just your text and your images and you can build your book right on-line. This trend is also happening on the e-book side with on-line applications like Kobo Writing Life, Nook can do this also. I think this is the future, build your books on-line. there are also many other picture book sites that allow you to make the boo without any software.

For this project I am going to build a picture book that we will sell on Kindle and CreateSpace. To be a little different I am going to build it in PowerPoint. What did he say, yes PowerPoint. PowerPoint is a pretty amazing software that almost everyone has and can create a pretty nice book. I would normally use Adobe InDesign for my book layout software but I want to have as many people as possible be able to follow me.

3. Basic parameters of the picture book we will make
• 7″ x 10″, approx. 24 pages
• Layout and production, Microsoft PowerPoint
• Publishing CreateSpace.com/Amazon and Kindle. Ideally I would like to make a horizontal book because this is going to be a picture book, but because CreateSpace.com doesn’t really have this orientation we will go vertical. The Kindle works either way, and 7″ x 10″ fits pretty nicely with the Kindle 1:6 screen ratio.
• Pictures, 300dpi, color, jpg

To figure out the book size we look on the CreateSpace.com site and at the printing options for a color book. CreateSpace offers a wide range of sizes, I usually pick the Industry Standard sizes so I can take advantage of the widest distribution.
Visit here for book specs https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/

General parts of a book
Cover
Title page
Front Matter
Copyright and legal disclaimers
List of illustrations and tables
Foreward
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Table of contents
Chapters
References
Index
Resources
Author bio, Contact info

For my picture book we will have a little simpler layout
Cover
Title page
Copyright and legal matters
Images
Author Bio

Sample Images for my Torrie Pines Beach Picture Book

Sample Images for my Torrie Pines Beach Picture Book

Make sure you sign up on our mailing list so you can keep up with this series of articles. Sign-up box is over on the right.

 

The text below here is still a work in process

Assembling your content
Pictures, drawings, illustrations
From a stock site, look at the rights issues, publishing, e-book, print-on-demand book, pdf book
Using images from you own camera, iPhoto,

Writing
Text for the book,
Title page text
Pick a topic

Images and Artwork
Collecting Images
Cleaning up images for the book, standard size and resolution
Any color adjustments
Match the picture size with the book page dimensions and layout

Picture book, kids
How to Book on a topic, pictures and images

Amazon book page
Understanding the basic sales page and the parts
How to research your book topic
Importance of book reviews

10 Ten technique for writing

Publishing Tuesday, 4/15/14, Public Domain Images and Book Marketing

A weekly list of ideas and news to help you Write, Edit, Design, Publish, and Market your books

Marianne Manthey of Design Your Own Blog.com has put together some excellent resources for Public Domain, Creative Commons and Royalty Free photos. It is always hard to find this info and these are pretty good lists.

Part 1: Public Domain Images
http://designyourownblog.com/blog-design-resources/the-big-guide-to-free-images-for-your-blog-posts-part-1-public-domain/

Part 2: Creative Commons Images
http://designyourownblog.com/blog-design-resources/the-big-guide-to-free-images-for-your-blog-posts-part-2-creative-commons/

Amazon Author Page
Amazon gives every author access to their own author page. It is an important part of your book marketing. Good post on the basic components of the page.
http://www.nessgraphica.com/amazon-author-page-your-own-promotional-billboard/

You can see my Amazon Author Page at http://www.amazon.com/J.-Bruce-Jones/e/B004MVGZ6Q

Launching Your Book
Getting your book off on a successful launch can often be super important to its success. This post by Katie Cross takes you through one writers efforts.
http://kcrosswriting.com/thoughts-on-a-book-launch/

Marketing Your Book
Most of my calls about book publishing lately have been about how to market a book once it is published. Unfortunately this might be to late. Ideally you should start the marketing the day your start the writing or even earlier. But if not here are 71 ideas to help get your book out there. This is a topic I will be writing more on in the future
http://www.yourwriterplatform.com/promote-and-market-your-book/

Print-On-Demand Publisher
Lulu.com, one of the major players in the Print-on-Demand world has been putting through some upgrades and changes. Read more about the updates
http://www.sys-con.com/node/3058504

Check out Lulu’s site
http://www.lulu.com/

I would love to hear about what is your big question about publishing your book? Please drop me an email or post a comment and I will see if I can answer it.

By Bruce Jones

Interviewed by Selling Electrons Magazine and Daniel Hall

Had a cool experience today, I was interviewed by Daniel Hall of Selling Electrons Magazine on my publishing and making products efforts. We talked about the different books I have, re-purposing your content, print on demand and the changes that are going on today. It was a lot of fun. Check out the video below. We used Google Hangout to record and broadcast the interview. You can learn more about Daniel at Daniel Hall Presents.com

Building Your Self-Publishing Platform and Making Money from your Book

Slides from a presentation that I did with the Boston Internet Marketing Meetup

Building Your Self-Publishing Platform and Making Money from your Book

The presentation covered these topics

  • Making Your Platform and building Your Followers
  • Marketing Your Book Before and After Your Publish
  • Publishing Your Book
  • Build Your Platform
  • Build Followers
  • Stats, Research, Test
  • Pre-Marketing Your Book
  • Post Marketing your Book
  • Marketing Platform
  • Print-on-demand
  • PDF, E-book, Mobie, ePub
  • Re-Purpose Your Content

Slides

  • 1. Building Your Self-Publishing Platform and Making Money From Your Book J. Bruce Jones
  • 2. 3 IMPORTANT THINGS TODAY, WE’RE GOING TO DISCOVER • Making Your Platform and Building Your Followers • Marketing Your Book Before and After You Publish • Publishing Your Book
  • 3. Book Facts • In a USA Today article, 82% of all Americans want to or intend to write a book some day • Most book never sell more than 150 copies • Almost 900,000 books were self published last year • Amazon only sells 7-10% of all books sold in the US • 40 Million iPads sold in 2011, 100 Million+ iPhones • Millions of Kindles, 5.9 Billion mobile subscribers
  • 4. Benefits of Self-Publishing • Control Over Your Book and Rights • Speed to Market • More Money
  • 5. Publishing Trends • Definition of a Book Has Changed • Book Stores and Publishers Will Loose Influence • E-books, Self-Publishing Will Continue to Grow
  • 6. Personal View Your success as an author or publisher will depend on your ability to manage your on-line and social media platforms
  • 7. Lesson 1. Making Your Platform And Building Your Followers • Build Your Platform • Build Followers • Stats, Research, Test 
  • 8. Blog Platform
  • 9. Web Site Platform
  • 10. Social Media Platforms
  • 11. Email Signup Box and List
  • 12. Review Your Stats for What Content is Popular
  • 13. Feed the Information Back Into Your Posts
  • 14. What are the Popular Keywords
  • 15. Social Media Stats
  • 16. Researching Your Book on Amazon
  • 17. Study the Titles and Covers
  • 18. Study the Descriptions
  • 19. Study the Rankings
  • 20. Study the Reviews
  • 21. Study the Table of Contents
  • 22. Lesson 2. Marketing Your Book • Pre-Marketing • Post Marketing • Marketing Platform 
  • 23. Blog Platform with Links to Amazon
  • 24. Web Platform with Links to Amazon
  • 25. Good Titles and Book Descriptions on Amazon
  • 26. Look Inside, Customer Images
  • 27. Google Images with Clear Links
  • 28. YouTube Book Reviews
  • 29. Social Media Platform
  • 30. Lesson 3. Publishing Your Book • Print, Print-on-Demand • PDF, E-book, Mobie, ePub • Re-Purpose Your Content
  • 31. CreateSpace.com/Amazon.com
  • 32. Standard Industry Sizes
  • 33. Custom Packages Available
  • 34. CreateSpace Dashboard
  • 35. LuLu.com – Publishing Options
  • 36. Blurb.com – High Quality Printing
  • 37. E-Junkie – Sell PDFs and E- books from Your Site
  • 38. e-Readers iPad, Kindle, Kobo & Nook
  • 39. Kindle Direct Publishing
  • 40. E-book Distributors Smashwords.com, Bookbaby.com
  • 41. Re-purpose Your Content into New Products • Audio Version, CD Rom, Mp3 • Video or DVD Version • Educational Products, Webinars, Teleseminars • Workbooks • Additional Editions, Spinoffs, Follow-up Books • Newsletter • Retreats, Conferences, Workshops • Certification Programs • Coaching and Consulting • T-shirts, mugs, bags, calendars
  • 42. CreateSpace – Audio, DVD, MP3
  • 43. Use Your Platform to Promote
  • 44. Recap – Make, Market, Publish • Making Your Platform and Building Your Followers • Marketing Your Book Before and After Publishing • Publishing Your Book
  • 45. Sign Up and Receive Publish Reference Book bruce@bjdesign.com

How to Self-Publish Your Book: Publishing 3.0

I just read an excellent article on TechCrunch.com by James Altucher called How to Self-Publish a Bestseller: Publishing 3.0. Altucher walks the reader through how he published his latest book, Choose Yourself! and turned it into a bestseller. This is his 11th book and he writes about how a self-published book is the new business card. I also like his definition of this new term Publishing 3.0

  • 1.0 is the old way, using a traditional publisher
  • 2.0 was the early days of self-publishing and into today, we could lump vanity presses into this area. Do you know that there were 15,000,000 million books published last year, almost all of them self-published.
  • 3.0 is self-publishing today, with better editing, design, distribution everywhere, better marketing, and doing it independently. Hiring all the services that used to be supplied by the publishing houses.
52 Blog Ideas for Your Business

52 Ideas to Inspire Your Business Blogging. Now Available on Amazon.com

James Altucher walks us through all the steps, how he did it, what it cost, and what happen. The article is excellent and pretty much covers all sides. I recommend reading it, some excellent lessons. My major issue with the article is that Altucher has a lot of money, or at least spends a lot of money to bring his book to market. He spent around $31,000 to sell 44,294 copies. He spent the money on editing, design, marketing, promotion. That is cool if you have it. I also have published a lot of books, I am about to release my 21st book, 52 Ideas to Inspire Your Business Blog. I have also had some Amazon category bestsellers, never a big time bestseller but some category ones. I don’t sell anywhere near his numbers but I am pretty pleased with my results so far.

How I Publish My Books
What I thought I would do is break down Altucher’s article subject by subject and tell you how I do it. Some of my lessons and results. I am a huge fan of self-publishing. I have all kinds of books; music chord books for guitar, mandolin, ukulele and banjo, geography text books, map coloring books, business books, fun kids coloring books, picture books and my new blog book. Most of my books are published using CreateSpace.com which is the  print-on-demand side of Amazon.com. I don’t spend anywhere what he does to bring my books to market, so I thought I would share.

I agree with James’ self-publishing benefits; more money, royalties are way higher, control over design, speed, content control, and no one can say no.

The Keys to Publishing Your Book
1. Build Your Platform

Free US and World Maps.com

FreeUSandWorldMaps.com

This is key today, you need to have a following. Your followers are your platform. They are your fans, your customers, your followers. Build out your Facebook fans, set up websites for all your book categories, Pinterest pages for each book, set up a blog, Twitter, whatever your do, build out your platform and keep engaged with it. For two of my categories I have websites where I highlight the pages from the books, give away samples, build out related products. On AcousticMusicTV.com, my music site, I put up a web page for every page in the book. I make it easy for people to find and download, I describe every graphic on the page and in alt tags. Along the side I run ads for my books that link directly to Amazon.com. Not everyone is going to buy, but I reward every visitor with the information they were looking for. I also do the same thing on www.FreeUSandWorldMaps.com for my World of Maps clip art.

AcousticMusicTV.com

AcousticMusicTV.com

2. How Do You Build Your Platform?
Your platform are all the places and people who follow you. Your Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, email list, your YouTube subscribers. Everyone that you have the ability to connect with. Publishers really like all these people because they are your first line of buyers. Marketing isn’t just one effort, it is a continual effort to build a fan base and a lot of followers for the things you say and do.

3. Write
Some people write a certain number of words a day or number pages a day. What I do is try to just chip away at my projects. I have learned even small amounts like 20 minutes a day adds up and before you know it you have completed your project. I try to work on my writing projects between 8:00 and 9:00 am every morning before I go to work. I am happy if I get a solid 25 minutes. The other thing I do is schedule what I call “A Day of Thinking” I go off and just think or write for a day. I also love writing on airplanes. I find it a great place to write, no one bothers you. You have a fixed time to work and you can be really focused. I will often set up projects for myself to work on if I know I will be flying. One of the big keys that I have found to success is having fixed chunks of time. 30 minutes in the morning, 3 hours on a plane, 5 hours sitting in a coffee shop. I wrote the first draft of my new blog book sitting in the coffee shop in the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego while I waited for my plane. Having a stop time makes the go time much easier to manage. I told the wait staff to just keep bringing me food. They got a nice tip and I hand wrote the first draft of the book.

If you want to learn the basics of producing books quickly I would check out Daniel Hall’s Real Fast Book course. Click Here to Visit the Site. I took this course when I start writing books and it really helped me to speed up and understand a lot of the basics. Daniel takes the point of view of a non-graphic designer which is great. He leads you through each step of the process of getting your books up on Kindle. I recommend this product as a great way to get started. Also see my recommendation in the section 7 below on making Audio books.

4. Know What You Want
James Altucher writes about knowing what you want to ultimately do with your book. What is its purpose? Once you know that you can then determine how much work and money you want to put into it . Don’t spend a ton of money making the book if you are just going to publish it using a quick print shop. Most of my books are produced as print-on-demand through CreateSpace/Amazon. I am not after the book store market. I am not building a large distribution system. I just like writing and publishing and CreateSpace works just fine.

My next world to conquer is getting all my books up on Kindle. The average book doesn’t sell over 150 copies in its lifetime. Hard to believe but that is true. What that tells me is, don’t go crazy spending a lot of money, you will never get it back. But what I do know is that most of my books sell copies every month. My best sellers sell 40-50 copies a month and my worst sell 1-2, and lots in between. I can make nice short 30-70 page books, get them up on Amazon, do a little promotion using free social media sites and make some money. I currently make $5-600/month selling my books and it just continues to grow. It is very steady and very cool. Update for July 2013, 235 books sold, over $700 in royalties, cool.

5. Editing
Altucher hired a professional editor. I agree, having an editor makes a huge difference to your book. I am amazed how many things my editor found that I never saw. You don’t have to go crazy on this, in fact I used my sister who is a former reporter and a freelance writer/editor. Someone needs to look at your book. Editors are also available on outsourcing services like Fiverr.com or Odesk.com. Also take a look at the included editing/design packages that most of the print-on-demand services use.

I also recommend for your own writing process, write today and edit tomorrow. Your writing will move along much faster if you don’t try to edit while your write. Giving your writing a little breathing space will really help.

6. Design
A professional designer makes a big difference. My day job is being a graphic designer so I am able to handle my own book covers and interiors. But just like for editing you want someone to handle the design and also the preparing of the files. I design my books using the Adobe Suite of products, InDesign, PhotoShop and Illustrator. I write in MS Word and Evernote. These are the standard programs design, layout and writing. Remember books have front and back covers so you need one of each.

If money is a concern you have some nice options, you can use outsourcing services like 99Designs.com. Designers all over the planet will bid on your interiors and covers and give you some great options. Also each of the print-on-demand services have both templates that you can use or relationships with designers and set packages.

We get caught up in the cover designs but don’t forget the interior. If you are releasing a print book the inside of the book also needs to be designed and produced. CreateSpace and the others take a pdf file. These files can be created very easily from the page layout programs like InDesign and also from word processing programs like MS Word. Either way you will need a file. If you are doing a Kindle ebook or Nook/iBook epub book these will also need to be set up in a program like MS Word. A great trend that is starting to happen is that you can build your book right on line. Kobo the international epub reader now has a site called Kobo Writing Life that lets you assemble the books live. I think this will be the trend of the future, it will make producing a book just so much easier.

Along with the cover you want to make sure you also have the designer give you cover graphics in a variety of sizes for your blog, social media, Pinterest, Facebook etc. pages. The success of being an author these days is going to be about how well you manage your social media and on-line presence.

Here is a really important thing to keep in mind. Most books these days are sold on Amazon. Most books are marketed with a book cover the size of a thumbnail. The covers are very small and will be mixed in with many other small covers. Your book title needs to read when the cover is about 1.5 inches wide. Make sure you view your cover design tiny to make sure you can still read the title.

7. Audio Book
Well yes, we need this. People travel a lot these days and many of them listen to audio books and podcasts in their cars. They aren’t that hard to do, the script is already done, basically you just read your book. For distribution you can use a service like CreateSpace. Not only do they do print books, they also host audio books and streaming video. You can use programs like Garage Band that comes with every Macintosh computer, or applications like Audacity. Audacity which is a free, open source, cross-platform audio recording and editing program for audio. It is very popular and has everything you pretty much need. You will also need to download the mp3 module. What I understand is that it best to record the book in chapters and then upload them to CreateSpace along with a cover graphic. (see Design above) I will be working on my own audio version of 52 Ideas to Inspire Your Business Blog so I will be able to give a lot more info on the process.

Real Fast Audio Book Course

Course for learning how to make audio books

If you want to learn more about how to produce audio books, check out Daniel Hall’s Real Fast Audio Book course. I have done several of Dan’s courses and he leads you very clearly through all the steps. Nice and simple.

8. Title
Titles are super important for blog post, email subject lines, videos and books. People need to be able to figure out what your book is about. Titles and subtitles are key. Don’t fall in love with the working title. We all have a working title for our books when we are writing them. We might have them for a long time and we forget that while we know what our book is about, our readers don’t. Spend some time on the title. A great exercise is to drop your book title into the Google and Amazon search boxes and see what comes up. Do books similar to yours come up or something completely different. Watch the words that appear as you type the title into the search box. This is instant search and it can be very helpful to see how people phrase things. Some great key words will appear. Look at the example below and how close it comes to my new book title.

Google Instant Search

Relevant words drop down as you type in the Google or Amazon search box

I also really like the suggestion that Altucher mentioned in his post. He used Facebook ads to see what people clicked on. On my current book I posted a question on 4 different Facebook group pages that I am in with about 4,000 people to ask for help with my title. I gave them 5 different titles and subtitles and ask to everyone to pick one or make corrections. I had a great answer within 2 minutes of posting on the subtitle. The person just flipped a couple of words around and fix a big problem. I have also used this technique for picking cover designs. I put up an A and B option and let people select. This alone is a great reason to be active on Facebook, fantastic resource. Remember how people perceive your book has a huge impact on its success.

9. Marketing
We are back to the Platform again. Remember your Platform is all of the places where you have expose to your fans and followers. Your email list, blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads etc. This is where you connect and let people know about your book and hopefully they will buy. I use websites to highlight the content of the book and then wrap ads around the edges with direct connections to Amazon.com. Books can be stand alone things or part of an entire package. On my current book, 52 Ideas, I am planning a series of videos that are mentioned in the book as bonuses but also sit on YouTube and will drive traffic to the book webpage and to Amazon.

Writing the book is just the beginning, success takes a plan and constant effort. An idea I hadn’t ever thought of for this current book was the one mention by Altucher. Set up a SlideShare presentation. SlideShare.net is kind of like YouTube for PowerPoint presentations. You can load your presentation up and it gets distributed to the world. My book is a business book, SlideShare is a business site, what a great idea. I just need to take each of the 52 ideas, drop them on a slide, add a footer with a picture of the cover, drop in some calls to action and people will be able to view it.

Every book these days needs several videos on YouTube. Don’t go crazy, just talk about the book and what benefits it brings to the reader. I even saw one author that read chapters from his book right into the video camera and put those up. Check out Don Georgevich’s YouTube channel, and look at some of his older videos. It really is quite amazing and such a simple way of marketing a book. Remember to have a live link back to your website as the first word in the video description and drop as much of the book’s text into the description area as you can.

You can do a virtual book tour with other similar blogs that you have set up relationships with and do guest posts or video interviews based on your book. A great resource for how to do a virtual book tour is D’vorah Lansky and her VirtualBookTour21Ways.com. 

10. Foreign Rights
I don’t know really anything about foreign rights but I do know that selling on Amazon or Kobo or Nook is selling to the world. These are global platforms. Remember Act Local Think Global. I sell a lot of books in England and ebooks sell everywhere and more countries all the time. I always take the full distribution package in CreateSpace. It is only $25.00 for full exposure. How can you beat that. My websites pull in visitors from all over the planet. Don’t just rely on a single listing on Amazon, be everywhere. You can set up your own sales page on your own website, I model mine off of Amazon. Have one link to Amazon, have another link to the other ebook sites like Kobo and Nook. Have a link for a pdf version, use a site like e-Junkie.com or Gumroad.com to sell your book. Have all versions available all the time. Here is an example of how I set up one of mine. I show the book, have specs, do a video, have related books, show examples. I just copies Amazon. They pay big bucks to figure this out, why not use their knowledge.

61 Ways to Market a Book

An excellent book to help with your online marketing

An excellent book to help you market your nonfiction Kindle book is 61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle Books by Steve Scott, it is available at Amazon.com and contains many excellent tips on what to do. Especially helpful are his 10 Pillars of a Rock-Solid Kindle Business (Strategies 1-10). I would use a lot of this book to help with fiction books also.

11. Other Merchandise
This is a cool one. You have written your book, what else can you do with it. On my AcousticMusicTV.com music book site I take the art from the book and upload it sites like Zazzle.com and CafePress.com and made t-shirts, mugs, clocks, pillows, iPad cases, waterbottles. On Cafepress I have over 50 products for each illustration. On Zazzle I made information posters from the music chord charts from my book Essential Chords for Guitar, Mandolin, Ukulele and Banjo book. All of these sites are actually print-on-demand sites but instead of printing on paper they are printing on physical products. I am not getting rich doing this but it all contributes to the mix.

12. The Numbers
Ok so how much can you make writing and publishing books. I think it can be from nothing to millions. But generally it seems to add some extra thousands to your pocketbook. The average book doesn’t sell over 150 copies in its life time. So what does this mean, it means that you need to make lots of different kinds of books until you figure out what works. Don’t just do one book. Even if you are doing one big book, release it in smaller pieces. Instead of one 500 page book, how about 5, one hundred page books and then a compilation book with all five. Now you have 6 books and 6 times more ability to attract a reader.

The average book distributed by a traditional publisher pays about $.70 for each sale to the writer. Most writers make most of their money from the advance. These days this is getting harder and harder. My books on CreateSpace make about $2.50-$3.50 per book and I don’t have to chase anyone for the money. I also retain full rights to the books and can do anything I want with them. Make an audio version, a video version, pull out the art and slap it on waterbottles. How about make a simple version and a deluxe version. and ebook version, it just goes on and on. I am a huge fan of CreateSpace.com but you should also check out Lulu.com and Blurb.com. Both sites are excellent and have options that CreateSpace doesn’t have such as hard cover and super high quality photo printing.

I currently sell about 200 books a month spread over 20 different books. Some books sell 40 a month and some sell 1. No one tells me I can’t publish a book. Sometimes the odd ball book is the best seller. My books pull in about $500-700/month. They just continue to grow and grow, slowly but continually. I have many more books coming. Below is my sales report for July 2013, 235 books sold, over $700 in royalties, US, England and Europe. All paperback.

CreateSpace July Report

CreateSpace Sales Report for July 2013, 235 books sold, over $700 revenue

My cost for most books is basically just time and the $25 I spend for the expanded distribution on CreateSpace. I am lucky, I am a graphic designer so I don’t have to hire someone like me. I choose CreateSpace’s ISBN numbers, at this point I really don’t care, I just want to sell books. I don’t worry about books stores at all though occasionally one will call and I ship them 10-20 copies. Book stores don’t really like print-on-demand books because you can’t return them. I give the stores a really good price and they never come back. You can see all my books on my book page here on the blog.

I do run several websites with my books featured on them. I did the html programing in Dreamweaver myself, learning how from YouTube videos. I am a huge fan of doing this, you have to promote your books. Working with Amazon is excellent. They take care of everything, selling, hosting, printing, shipping, and dropping the money into my bank account every month. My job is getting customer to my book pages. If I had to do all the selling stuff it would never happen. It is amazing that you can just upload a pdf file and be selling everywhere.

Ok enough for now, the article by James Altucher on making his books How to Self-Publish A Bestseller: Publishing 3.0 is excellent, I highly recommend reading it. It is just one of many ways to bring your books to market. I hope I have been able to show you another.

I would love your comments and thoughts and if you liked this article I would love a like on my Bruce Jones Design Facebook page. See this is called building your platform.

 

Resources for Publishing Kindle and CreateSpace Books

Kindle Book ResourcesI have been a conversation today with some friends of mine on resources for publishing Kindle and print-on-demand books using services like Kindle/Amazon, CreateSpace/Amazon and Lulu.com. I thought I would start pulling some of this together in a post so others can access this info.

Kindle Book Resources
Amazon has a number of their own resources for pulling together your Kindle book, I found them quite useful along with some other sources. I found I need to read these books several times to get it to really stick. My books have a lot of images in them and it became very difficult to get the pictures to act and look the way I wanted.

  • Building Your Book for Kindle, from Amazon/Kindle, free download from Amazon, very useful, for the PC usersAaron Shepard Kindle Books
  • Building Your Book for Kindle for Mac, from Amazon/Kindle, free download from Amazon, for the Mac users, MS Word works differently on a Mac than a PC, you need this info especially for building your Table of Contents. Building the clickable TOC can drive you nuts

Aaron Shepard’s Books, excellent

Other Books

InDesign has Kindle and epub plugins for making ebooks, I started working down this path as I am an huge InDesign user but eventually went back to MS Word. A lot of people use InDesign to make their books, I just got frustrated mostly because of the heavy picture needs that I had and couldn’t figure it all out. If you are mostly text then life will be easier.

Youtube Resources/Playlist for ebook publishing
In my search for Kindle and epub knowledge I put together a YouTube Playlist called Kindle and Self Publishing

CreateSpace/Amazon Print-on-Demand Publishing Tips
I have another blog called How to Make and Sell Your Book and I did a long post on Using CreateSpace and Print-on-Demand called Publish Your Book Using Print On Demand with CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com, clever right. This article has a ton of info, including some guidance on building your cover. CreateSpace has upgrade the cover process some since this was written but it is still pretty helpful. There is also lots of other ebook publishing info on this site. How to Make and Sell Your Book

Other ebook and Print-on-Demand Links

  • Kindle Direct Publishing has a ton of tips on their site that are very helpful. Take a look at Preparing Your Book and Publishing Your Book
  • CreateSpace/Amazon, CreateSpace is the print-on-demand side of Amazon, it is where you upload and manage your books. Just paperback books, but you are on Amazon. I have over 20 books through these guys. They are excellent, great service.
  • Lulu.com, another print-on-demand book site, Lulu has more options for your books, including hard cover and spiral binding. Excellent quality

Kindle Direct Publishing has released an amazing tool for creating fixed formatted books for the Kindle called Kindle Comic Creator. This tool can also be used for creating picture books. I have just started to mess around with it but one of the things it can do is convert pdf files. It is free and works with both Mac and PC. I make a lot of image based books, music books, maps, and coloring books. My initial test is that it converts these book really well. It seems adding a TOC is a bit of an effort and maybe beyond me at the moment, but all the positives look really cool. Here are some of the things it can do:

  • Create a guided navigation experience with Kindle Panel View
  • Create books with double page spreads or facing pages
  • Import artwork from jpg, pdf, tiff, png and ppm formats
  • Preview content across Kindle devices before publishing

 

Show 7 Making a Living as a Freelance Designer • Bruce Jones Design Show

Show 7, focuses on making a living as a freelance graphic designer. I talk about, in a presentation that I gave at a local college, how I use my design skills and knowledge to build products that I can sell and supplement my income. Anyone who creates for a living like a graphic designer, writer, photographer, really anyone can do this can use what they do in their day job to make a parallel line of products. I will be talking more about this in future shows but this is a good place to start.

Notes from the presentation

Using Your Design Skills to Make Money for Yourself

Key Points 1
• The Gate Keepers to Publishing, Video, Marketing and Distribution Have Fallen
• Everyone Gets the Same, Window to the World
• Products Can Be Produced Almost Free with Print-on-Demand

What Kind of Products Can You Make
• Books, Physical & Electronic
• Video, DVDs & Online
• Music
• Consumer Products, Household
• WebTV, Training, Information
• Advertising Revenue

Key Points 2
• Print on Demand / Electronic
• No Inventory Cost, No Shipping Costs
• Little Bits of Money Add Up
• Perfection Freezes Progress

How Do You Create Products
• Any program that can make a pdf file, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop
• Any program or camera that can make a video file: iMovie, Screenflow, Camtasia
• Online templates, CreateSpace, Lulu, CafePress, Zazzle

How Do You Sell Products
• Amazon, #1 Place to Sell
• Books: CreateSpace, Lulu, Blurb, Kindle
• Products: CafePress, Zazzle
• eProducts: eJunkie, Your Site
• YouTube

Where Do You Get Ideas
• Your Own Interests
• Amazon.com / Bestseller Lists
• Listening to Customers
• Magazines, Stores, Etsy, Real Life
• Re-purpose Content
• Look at Your Stats

Key Tips
• Amazon, Bestseller, TOC, Reviews
• Keep it Short
• Electronic Format/Print on Demand
• YouTube and Video
• Free Shipping
• Use the Post Office,Fedx, UPS Packaging
• Pay Attention to Stats
• Perfection Freezes Progress

Key Take Aways
• Begin Small and Keep it Short, but Begin
• Amazon is King, Books are Easy, CreateSpace, Kindle
• Act Local / Think Global
• Print-on-Demand is Very Powerful
• Video and YouTube are the Future
• Perfection Freezes Progress
• Easy to Change

Show 6, Print on Demand, Bruce Jones Design Show

Print on Demand topic for Show 6 of the Bruce Jones Design Show. The future of publishing is here with print on demand. POD as it is called allows you to inventory your book on different book publishing sites as a pdf file. When your book gets ordered, it gets printed, shipped and the money is deposited right into your account. How cool it that

Print on Demand sites mentioned in the show:
http://www.createspace.com
http://www.lulu.com
http://www.blurb.com

Blog Idea for Show 6, Kick start your blogging with our Blogging Ideas
“Today I want you to write out some cool or favorite tips for using your product or services. The right tool, how to prep, clean up, answer the main FAQs.”

Post the answer on your blog, Facebook page, Linkedin update, twitter, how ever you get out to the world.